Canadian man guilty in British bomb plot

    * Story Highlights
    * Momin Khawaja the first charged with terrorist offense in Canada since 
2001 law
    * Khawaja convicted on five charges of financing and facilitating terrorism
    * The 29-year-old could face life in prison when he's sentenced next month
    * Man pleaded not guilty to all charges in plot to blow up buildings, gas 

TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday found a Canadian man guilty of 
participating in a thwarted plot to bomb British buildings and natural gas 
lines in 2004.

Momin Khawaja was the first person to be charged with a terrorist offense in 
Canada since the country enacted anti-terrorism laws in 2001, and the case was 
considered to be the first major test of those laws.

Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan, was accused of collaborating with a group of 
British Muslims of Pakistani descent in the plot. Five co-conspirators were 
convicted in London, England, last year and jailed for life.

Justice Douglas Rutherford convicted Khawaja on five charges of financing and 
facilitating terrorism.

Rutherford also found him guilty on two criminal charges related to a 
remote-control device, but not guilty to the terrorism portions of those 
charges because there was not enough proof Khawaja knew the device was to be 
used in fertilizer-powered attacks.

"Momin Khawaja was aware of the group's purposes, and whether he considered 
them terrorism or not, he assisted the group in many ways in the pursuit of its 
terrorist objective," Rutherford wrote in his judgment.

"It matters not whether any terrorist activity was actually carried out."

Khawaja, 29, could face life in prison when he is sentenced next month. He had 
pleaded not guilty to all the charges alleging his involvement in the plot to 
attack London's Ministry of Sound nightclub, a shopping center and electrical 
and gas facilities in Britain.

Prosecutors painted Khawaja as an extremist who was determined to wreak havoc 
with his British co-conspirators.

Defense lawyer Lawrence Greenspon acknowledged that Khawaja, an Ottawa software 
developer, created the remote-control device. But he insisted it was meant for 
use against military targets in Afghanistan, not in London. The plotters never 
let Khawaja in on their plans to mount attacks in Britain, he said.

Greenspon did not call Khawaja or anyone else to testify.

The prosecution's star witness, Mohammed Babar, a former al Qaeda operative 
turned police informant, testified that Khawaja attended a training camp in 
Pakistan in 2003. He also claimed Khawaja acted as a courier to deliver money 
and supplies and discussed various potential operations.

Canada's anti-terror law was ushered in following the September 11, 2001, 
attacks in the United States.

The law was used two years ago to charge 18 individuals in an unrelated alleged 
conspiracy to bomb targets in Toronto. But most of those cases are still before 
the courts.

The first suspect to go to trial in that case was found guilty last month of 
participating in military exercises and firearms training. The man -- who was 
peripherally involved in the case -- was the first person to be found guilty of 
a terrorist offense in Canada since the country enacted the anti-terrorism laws 
in 2001.

The arrests of the 18 group members, known as the "Toronto 18," made headlines 
around the world and heightened fears in Canada, where people believe they are 
relatively immune from terrorist strikes.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not 
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

All AboutCanada • Toronto • September 11 Attacks
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